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A Letter to APA Regarding the Internship Imbalance

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by widmup, 03.28.11.

  1. widmup

    widmup

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    I am starting this new thread for all of those who are interested in helping write a letter to APA on behalf on students regarding the internship imbalance. I figure we can bounce around ideas for advocacy, possibly get other people involved and work on a statement to submit to APAGS/APA.
    Last edited by a moderator: 05.09.11
  2. npsychrox

    npsychrox

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    I'm in! Just let me know how I can help.
  3. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Dear APA,

    The internship match system is proving to be an increasingly arduous hurdle for many aspiring young psychologists. The imbalance appears to be the product of rapid expansion of graduate schools in professional psychology. The inflation in number of students over the past decade has not been matched by either the number of available APA accredited internship slots or the demand for clinical psychologists in the workforce. While it is clear that a few programs are responsible for much of these problems, we do not believe the "weeding out" process should be conducted on the back-end, after huge amounts of time and money have been invested, but on the front-end. Students entering into professional schools of psychology are at a particularly vulnerable period in their lives, most not yet having the economic savvy to understand the ramifications of debt, nor education in the realities of the field with respect to what it takes to be competitive, secure a quality internship, postdoctoral training and a professional level job (not one that is occupied just as easily by social workers or other masters level providers).

    To address these problems, we suggest that the APA regulate the most grievous offenders that put our young professional population in greatest jeopardy, burdened with 6-figure debt, poor internship prospects, and a cascade effect that could be ruinous to both the livelihood and happiness of many of our workforce but also the quality of the product that we offer as psychologists. The current situation is akin to other predatory loan schemes and should fall within, at least, morally, the concept of usury laws. We request that the APA sanction programs that use the student loan system as a method of existence, charging at the limits of what's borrowable rather than what is needed for the field. These programs are not good citizens in the psychology professional community. Further, we strongly suggest that APA remove accreditation from these programs, and advocate that state licensing boards deny licensure to new students after a target date (one that does not affect current students). This would serve many important goals for our field. 1) It would end the internship imbalance. 2) It would limit the amount of debt our professionals are saddled with upon graduation 3) It would improve the quality of internship opportunities by alleviating the burden of review that all sites face as they are bombarded with 100s of applications; limiting this would allow sites to conduct a more thorough review 4) It would improve the quality of internship programs that students select (e.g., many programs in California encourage student to attend non-APA accredited sites, many unfunded) 5) It would protect the public from overly-stressed poorly educated professionals.


    Sincerely,


    People against the unethical treatment of students of psychology.
    Last edited: 03.28.11
  4. Student4Life0

    Student4Life0

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    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup: X a million
  5. widmup

    widmup

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    Well said :)
    Let's see if we can have more people join in on this dicussion and possibly add/comment/suggest on/to your draft. The more we can represent students' points of view as a whole, the better. Then, we can create an online petition to circulate more broadly among students accross the country and eventually submit to our dear friends at APA.

  6. rocketdog83

    rocketdog83

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    If nothing else they need to reign in class sizes. People I've talked to who are exiting professional schools are alarmed at how the cohort size has ballooned. This ensure that what is bad now will only get worse.
  7. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Anyone think a proposal about alternative models (eg., an eventual expansion into a capsulated internship system rather than an national application and match process) is warranted here?

    I know they can hear our outrage, but even if the Argosys of the world cut their cohort sizes by 75%, we would still have an imbalance in the hundreds. Right?
    Last edited: 03.28.11
  8. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Agreed, though, just for the record, I am not a student.
  9. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Maybe. Would they required to be APA accredited? Would professional schools be allowed to take this as another opportunity to fleece students. I.e., Here's a 5th year, since we're providing all aspects of training, that's full tuition and no pay. I am afraid of this idea. I'd rather keep the national match because of 1) greater diversity in training 2) independence from parent institution 3) prevention of further abuse.
  10. psyman

    psyman

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    In a previous post (different thread), I proposed rolling internship start dates. So that if you didn't get placement, you could reapply to more positions in 3 or 4 months. However, one user said that wasn't feasible.

    What about some method of offering individuals who are applying for the 2nd, 3rd, etc time some way of being viewed first by sites? If they aren't qualified, then fine, but they at least get first crack.

    Just throwing out ideas that help people now, rather than only working on solutions to help people 5 years from now.
  11. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Sorry..I can see lawsuits coming from something like that...
  12. psyman

    psyman

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    You can't see lawsuits from the current system?
  13. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Well of course. But thats not a permisson slip to create a new one thats just a prone, right?

    I would probably argue that that new model would be more prone though, since making an argument for unfair advantage (not based on training credentials) would be very easy for an attourney. With the current model, its much more difficult to place blame on ONE agencey. Its not entirely your fault, but it not entirely your school fault either. Its not entirely the APA fault/responsbility, and it not entirely the sites fault. So who catches the flack in a tort? See what im sayin?
  14. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    I think there is a place for captive internship spots, though that would be an adjunctive solution, but not a primary solution. Most of the issues are on the frontend, though there is something to be said for the variance of acred. on the backend. I feel like I pick on CAPIC a lot, but those "spots" are not the same as providing APA-acred spots. If anything, the # of APA spots needs to be increased, and the number of non-APA acred. spots needs to be decreased.

    *Also not a student.
  15. JockNerd

    JockNerd

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    I think adding citations would help. APA is amazingly poorly informed about what happens in its own programs. I can work on adding some to JS' draft tomorrow.
  16. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    I have written a number of detailed posts about the match stats from the past 2-3+ years, which may or may not be helpful to you. There is also a good journal article about the match imbalance that was talked about on here awhile back. :D
  17. AlaskanJustin

    AlaskanJustin

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    Look, what Jon wrote is great... for an introduction. But do you think they are going to take (or anyone for that matter) a half page letter seriously???

    You know what would be a nice touch... write up a "letter" for publication, APA-style it, citations etc., make it both a focused criticism as well as an informed proposal... BAM easy pub (lol @ easy). I think this would make a nice little statement.
  18. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Yea pal, I do. And you thank him for the effort.

    Letters such as these (Ive written several to sentors regarding psych related stuff) should be short and too the point. I think we should add citations and a few other things as well, but generally no one is going to want to read a journal article on the topic. It needs to be a letter of quick facts, stats, and outrage. I think that will be most effective. There are already several articles on the topic in existence.
  19. AlaskanJustin

    AlaskanJustin

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    I don't think we are in disagreement here... obviously not talking about a 10+ page journal article, but I am sure you have seen a letter published in a journal...

    But anyways, having served under a Senator I am always skeptical on how much they actually pay attention to letters such as this... I will of course be the first to admit that this could also be the specific senator I worked under... she was a .....
  20. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    Who's to say the two options are mutually exclusive? A short, direct, and stern letter to the APA regarding their role and responsibility in this situation would take less time and be more poignant in the current post-match climate. Afterward, a journal-length (or thereabouts) article discussing the imbalance in greater detail, including its build-up over the past decade and proposed/possible solutions along with necessary first steps, could then ensure that the issue isn't brushed under the rug at the start of the new academic year in the fall.

    In my opinion, the issue isn't going to attract a larger response until it's consistently on the minds of a wide demographic of professionals rather than being seen as a seasonal crisis experienced largely by graduate students. Honestly, I'd wager that the majority of current practitioners (especially those not directly involved in graduate training) have little or no idea just how much worse things have become since their own internship experiences.
  21. widmup

    widmup

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    I think adding some citations is a great idea to start of with. Jocknerd, if you are able to work on that, perhaps using some of the info provided by therapist4change, it would be a great help.

    It is also good to keep in mind that, although it is fine and appropriate to make some specific suggestions, we are not necessarily in any position to dictate what APA should/should not do. Perhaps the best focus of our letter should be on why and how this is a problem for students and the field of professional psychology, the effect on students, undesirable consequences, etc (based on numbers from empirical evidence). Then ask APA to be more proactive in addressing the issue. It may be useful to make a connection with someone already influential in APA who might be willing to back up a committee (with members who represent different sides of the issue) that could come up with a reasonable "official" proposal.

    Some possibilities to start with could be APAGS, or on a more personal level perhaps a faculty member/colleague/mentor with a special interest/experience in advocacy issues with APA. I can think of one faculty member that might be willing to help/advise.

    Just throwing some ideas out there...
  22. O Gurl

    O Gurl

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    I love what JS wrote. I think it captures the issues in a direct way and clearly identifies the problem- diploma mills flooding the market. Sure, there could be modifications to the current model (e.g. increasing captive internship sites), but that is not what cause the problem. Besides I like the idea of the national match. It reduces inbred training and allows for diversity of experiences. The only thing I feel is missing from the current letter is an *or else* clause. How will we respond if our concerns go unanswered? Will we withdraw support from APA by canceling our memberships and put our weight behind another organization, like Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) as suggested here:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=784825
  23. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    Very good point O Gurl.

    I stopped supporting the APA years ago, but I'll definitely agree to keep not supporting them through membership dues. :laugh:
  24. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Thats a tough one, because, although I am definitely a person who has a bias towards the scientist-practitioner model...with an emphasis in the scientist part...Baker and McFall's paper on their "accreditation system" seemed kinda naive given the current needs of the healthcare system and the current state of academia. Although they make good points, there subtle disdain for the practitioner side of tis profession irks me. Ok...sorry, dont wanna get side-tracked.
  25. O Gurl

    O Gurl

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    I hear you. PCSAS may not be the right alternative as they are so science-oriented. I just feel we have to have a strong line in the sand. Issuing an idle threat is not an option here. People's lives are being ruined and the APA is turning a blind eye. The culprit programs remain accredited with NO regulations/sanctions. Perhaps we should set a deadline for response with a statement that we will withdraw membership, refuse to attend the national conference (just in time for them to really feel the effects this fall), support another organization (if we can find a mutually agreeable alternative), AND the students affected will move toward legal action against the programs in question--because it really is illegal to pray upon students, bury them in debt, and leave them unable to complete the degree b/c they cannot land an internship.
  26. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    I've really liked the idea that others have posted (here and elsewhere) regarding holding ALL programs directly accountable for consistently-poor match rates, such as by restricting incoming class sizes to the number of students successfully matched in previous years. I'm not sure if it's something that should be added to JS's letter, but if it is, perhaps it could help show that not only are we upset at the continual market flooding courtesy these professional schools, we also don't feel that anyone should necessarily get a "free pass." Thus, even traditional programs, or other programs not specifically labeled as "professional schools," should be cognizant of how well they're truly preparing their students for this particular hurdle.
  27. EmpathicListen

    EmpathicListen

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    What about also addressing how APA creates additional challenges to potential internship sites in applying for accreditation? I understand the importance of keeping good quality control to insure that interns get appropriate training from the sites. However, there are many sites that can provide a great training experience but do not have the man-power or time to commit to the amount of paperwork APA requires each year. Further, if a site is trying to get approval from the budget to provide training for new psychologists, at a loss to the facility, is it fair to also ask for $2,000 up front for a self-study to initiate the process? APA is willing to grant accreditation to these schools with huge class sizes, yet they have not adjusted the accredidation process to encourage the development of new internship sites. This will not fix the problem but it would do something towards helping the internship imbalance.
  28. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Withholding something from APA until some tangible action is taken (not just kicked around) sounds good, but I can also envision this being difficult to accomplish on any large scale. Because SO many students utilize the annual conference as means of presenting their research (as well as networking), I wonder if it would be hard to get a large scale student boycott going. Also, I know alot of us utilize the APA trust for malpractice insurance (there are other alternatives though) so not sure if that would further complicate things.
  29. O Gurl

    O Gurl

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    Oh yeah. I am sure it would be difficult, but I keep thinking that this problem keeps growing exponentially and affects every single young professional in our field. Our action has to be big-even if it takes time and lots of energy. We would have to work hard at getting the letter/petition to as many psychology trainees and TDs/DCTs as possible. We also have to withhold something that will hurt. Yes, the national conference is a great networking opportunity, but the APA cannot continue to think it is untouchable. There are plenty of other (albeit smaller) conferences to resubmit abstracts to. If we don't make this a real big potential problem for them, I could see us getting back a generic: "We at the APA are concerned and looking into the problem" sort of response.

    Also, I agree with AcronymAllergy that we should mention that ALL programs (university based, professisonal, Psyd, PhD, whatever) must be evaluated based on their match performance thus far.
  30. rocketdog83

    rocketdog83

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    A boycott is something to build towards. One way to get people on board with it is to show them that other options have been tried and exhausted.
  31. KillerDiller

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    Haven't acceptances for posters and papers at APA already gone out? I think it would be an uphill battle to convince students to boycott once they have already gone through the work of submitting.

    Maybe students who aren't presenting, but who were planning on attending would boycott. Not sure how big a group this would be, though. Speaking personally, I never travel to attend conferences I'm not presenting at.
  32. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    some additions. . .

    Dear APA,

    The internship match system is proving to be an increasingly arduous hurdle for many aspiring young psychologists. This year, less than 70% of students matched for internship through the APPIC system, and, of those, an even smaller percentage matched to APA internships. Further, a substantial number in states such as California forgo APA/APPIC entirely, electing for unregulated internship experiences. It appears that the influence of APA is being marginalized. Rather than a set of minimum standards, APA compliance is becoming increasingly elite. If this trend continues, its influence on the direction of psychology will be further degraded.

    There are now far more psychology graduate students applying for internship every year than there are positions. The imbalance and erosion of standards appears to be the product of rapid expansion of graduate schools in professional psychology. The inflation in number of students over the past decade has not been matched by either the number of available APA accredited internship slots or the demand for clinical psychologists in the workforce. While it is clear that a few programs are responsible for much of these problems, we do not believe the "weeding out" process should be conducted on the back-end, after huge amounts of time and money have been invested, but on the front-end. Students entering into professional schools of psychology are at a particularly vulnerable period in their lives, most not yet having the economic savvy to understand the ramifications of debt, nor education in the realities of the field with respect to what it takes to be competitive, to secure quality internship and postdoctoral training, and to attain a professional level job (not one that is occupied just as easily by social workers or other masters level providers).

    To address these problems, we suggest that the APA regulate the most grievous offenders that put our young professional population in greatest jeopardy, burdened with 6-figure debt, poor internship prospects, and exponentially expanding competition both from within, due to unjustified expansion by psychology graduate programs and without, due to trends to lesser training standards in healthcare. The current situation creates an environment ripe for a cascade effect that could be ruinous to both the livelihood and happiness of many of our workforce and the quality of the product that we offer as psychologists. The current situation is akin to other predatory loan schemes and should fall within, at least, morally, the concept of usury laws.

    We request that the APA sanction programs that use the student loan system as a method of existence, charging at the limits of what's borrowable. These programs are not good citizens in the psychology professional community. Further, we strongly suggest that APA remove accreditation from these programs, and advocate that state licensing boards deny licensure to new students after a target date (one that does not affect current students). This would serve many important goals for our field. 1) It would end the internship imbalance. 2) It would limit the amount of debt our professionals are saddled with upon graduation 3) It would improve the quality of internship opportunities by alleviating the burden of review that all sites face as they are bombarded with 100s of applications; limiting this would allow sites to conduct a more thorough evaluation of candidates 4) It would improve the quality of internship programs that students select (e.g., again, many programs in California encourage student to attend non-APA accredited sites, many unfunded; many students now match to non-APA accredited sites) 5) It would protect the public from overly-stressed and poorly educated professionals.


    Sincerely,


    People against the unethical treatment of students of psychology.
    Last edited: 03.29.11
  33. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Also, I would not advocate a boycott. I am not currently an APA member (APS), but I am contemplating re-joining. The best way to fix these things is to be part of the organization and have your voiced heard, not abandon it to who knows. Lobbies and politics. That's the game.
  34. codetype4/9

    codetype4/9 Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to craft many of our thoughts into this letter. I'm an APA member and as long as you approve, I would like to send this letter along (not to listservs but perhaps to various APA offices), as written. One thing I did recently inquire about is why the APA does not have the authority to limit class sizes. I haven't received a reply yet (they do eventually reply to these sorts of things) and it would be interesting for us to find out.

  35. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Sure, go ahead. There are a few more edits in there.

    Jon
  36. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    But, you might want to wait and see what Jocknerd does with it. He'll probably add some data to back up my statements.
  37. JockNerd

    JockNerd

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    I only saw two spots that seemed in want of citations. If anyone thinks something else needs to be supported I can add a reference. Also added the link to the appic data.

    This eventually should be distributed across the following listserves: APAGS, 9, 12, 16, 17, 22, 29, 31, 40, 44, 35, 51. When it's ready.


    Dear APA,

    The internship match system is proving to be an increasingly arduous hurdle for many aspiring young psychologists. This year, 79% of students matched for internship through the APPIC system in both rounds 1 and 2, and, of those, an even smaller percentage matched to APA internships (http://www.appic.org/match/5_2_2_1_13c_match_about_statistics_general_2011Comb.html). Further, a substantial number in states such as California forgo APA/APPIC entirely, electing for unregulated internship experiences. It appears that the influence of APA is being marginalized. Rather than a set of minimum standards, APA compliance is becoming increasingly elite. If this trend continues, its influence on the direction of psychology will be further degraded.

    There are now far more psychology graduate students applying for internship every year than there are positions. The imbalance and erosion of standards appears to be the product of rapid expansion of graduate schools in professional psychology (Parent & Williamson, 2010). The inflation in number of students over the past decade has not been matched by either the number of available APA accredited internship slots or the demand for clinical psychologists in the workforce. While it is clear that a few programs are responsible for much of these problems, we do not believe the "weeding out" process should be conducted on the back-end, after huge amounts of time and money have been invested, but on the front-end. Students entering into professional schools of psychology are at a particularly vulnerable period in their lives, most not yet having the economic savvy to understand the ramifications of debt, nor education in the realities of the field with respect to what it takes to be competitive, to secure a quality internship and postdoctoral training, and to attain a professional level job (not one that is occupied just as easily by social workers or other masters level providers).

    To address these problems, we suggest that the APA regulate the most grievous offenders that put our young professional population in greatest jeopardy, burdened with 6-figure debt, poor internship prospects, and a cascade effect that could be ruinous to both the livelihood and happiness of many of our workforce but also the quality of the product that we offer as psychologists. This recommendation is consistent with recommendations by researchers on the topic of the internship imbalance (Parent & Williamson, 2010; Stedman, Schoenfeld, Carroll, & Allen, 2009) The current situation is akin to other predatory loan schemes and should fall within, at least, morally, the concept of usury laws.

    We request that the APA sanction programs that use the student loan system as a method of existence, charging at the limits of what is borrowable. These programs are not good citizens in the psychology professional community. Further, we strongly suggest that APA remove accreditation from these programs, and advocate that state licensing boards deny licensure to new students after a target date (one that does not affect current students). This would serve many important goals for our field. 1) It would end the internship imbalance. 2) It would limit the amount of debt our professionals are saddled with upon graduation 3) It would improve the quality of internship opportunities by alleviating the burden of review that all sites face as they are bombarded with hundreds of applications; limiting this would allow sites to conduct a more thorough evaluation of candidates 4) It would improve the quality of internship programs that students select (e.g., again, many programs in California encourage student to attend non-APA accredited sites, many unfunded; many students now match to non-APA accredited sites) 5) It would protect the public from overly-stressed and poorly educated professionals.

    Sincerely,

    People against the unethical treatment of students of psychology.

    References
    Parent, M. C. & Williamson, J. B. (2010). Program disparities in unmatched internship applicants. Training & Education in Professional Psychology, 4,116-120.

    Stedman, J. M., Schoenfeld, L. S., Carroll, K., & Allen, T. F. (2009). The internship supply-demand crisis: Time for a solution is now. Training & Education in Professional Psychology, 3,135-139.
    Last edited: 03.29.11
  38. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Just a note (I don't have time to do it right now), but Jock's edit is missing a few grammatical fixes that are in my last edit.
  39. JockNerd

    JockNerd

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    Think I got em in my edit
  40. O Gurl

    O Gurl

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    I can understand people's concerns with a boycott and will defer to the group on that one. That was just my radical flag waving. I swear I should have been a child of the 60's :).

    Hopefully, the sheer number of signatures or endorsements accumulated will get a real response. Thanks to JS and JN for working on this.
  41. JockNerd

    JockNerd

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    Online petition maybe as well as sending it? Then folks could sign it online.
  42. O Gurl

    O Gurl

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    I think signatures would really strengthen it. I'm optimistic that plenty of trainees and program directors would agree with what is expressed in this letter. If we can establish a petition link and circulate it along with the letter through the listserves, post it here as a sticky, and make a FB page or something, I could see getting a couple thousand signatures easy.

    I've seen quite a few petitions created on change.org: http://www.change.org/petition
    It is free and appears relatively simple to establish.
  43. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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  44. ehh2109

    ehh2109

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    Edit: Apparently I need to click refresh before I post, since someone else already posted exactly what I was going to say. :)
    Last edited: 03.29.11
  45. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Still need to integrate my last edit with jn's edit (grammar issues).
  46. AgapeBlue

    AgapeBlue part-time Ninja

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    Yes, excellent idea :thumbup:

    Thanks for those who are putting this together. Great work.
  47. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    some grammar fixes. . .

    Dear APA,

    The internship match system is proving to be an increasingly arduous hurdle for many aspiring young psychologists. This year, 79% of students matched for internship through the APPIC system in both rounds 1 and 2, and, of those, an even smaller percentage matched to APA internships (http://www.appic.org/match/5_2_2_1_1..._2011Comb.html). Further, a substantial number in states such as California forgo APA/APPIC entirely, electing for unregulated internship experiences. It appears that the influence of APA is being marginalized. Rather than a set of minimum standards, APA compliance is becoming increasingly elite. If this trend continues, its influence on the direction of psychology will be further degraded.

    There are now far more psychology graduate students applying for internship every year than there are positions. The imbalance and erosion of standards appear to be the product of rapid expansion of graduate schools in professional psychology (Parent & Williamson, 2010). The inflation in number of students over the past decade has not been matched by either the number of available APA accredited internship slots or the demand for clinical psychologists in the workforce. While it is clear that a few programs are responsible for much of these problems, we do not believe the "weeding out" process should be conducted on the back-end, after huge amounts of time and money have been invested, but on the front-end. Students entering into professional schools of psychology are at a particularly vulnerable period in their lives, most not yet having the economic savvy to understand the ramifications of debt, nor education in the realities of the field with respect to what it takes to be competitive, to secure quality internship and postdoctoral training, and to attain a professional level job (not one that is occupied just as easily by social workers or other masters level providers).

    To address these problems, we suggest that the APA regulate the most grievous offenders that put our young professional population in greatest jeopardy, burdened with 6-figure debt, poor internship prospects, and exponentially expanding competition both from within, due to unjustified expansion by psychology graduate programs and without, due to trends to lesser training standards in healthcare. The current situation creates an environment ripe for a cascade effect that could be ruinous to both the livelihood and happiness of many of our workforce and the quality of the product that we offer as psychologists. This recommendation is consistent with recommendations by researchers on the topic of the internship imbalance (Parent & Williamson, 2010; Stedman, Schoenfeld, Carroll, & Allen, 2009). As it stands, this situation is akin to other predatory loan schemes and should fall within, at least, morally, the concept of usury laws.

    We request that the APA sanction programs that use the student loan system as a method of existence, charging at the limits of what's borrowable. These programs are not good citizens in the psychology professional community. Further, we strongly suggest that APA remove accreditation from these programs, and advocate that state licensing boards deny licensure to new students after a target date (one that does not affect current students). This would serve many important goals for our field. 1) It would end the internship imbalance. 2) It would limit the amount of debt our professionals are saddled with upon graduation 3) It would improve the quality of internship opportunities by alleviating the burden of review that all sites face as they are bombarded with 100s of applications; limiting this would allow sites to conduct a more thorough evaluation of candidates 4) It would improve the quality of internship programs that students select (e.g., again, many programs in California encourage students to attend non-APA accredited sites, many unfunded; many students now match to non-APA accredited sites) 5) It would protect the public from overly-stressed and poorly educated professionals.


    Sincerely,


    People against the unethical treatment of students of psychology.
    References
    Parent, M. C. & Williamson, J. B. (2010). Program disparities in unmatched internship applicants. Training & Education in Professional Psychology, 4,116-120.

    Stedman, J. M., Schoenfeld, L. S., Carroll, K., & Allen, T. F. (2009). The internship supply-demand crisis: Time for a solution is now. Training & Education in Professional Psychology, 3,135-139.
  48. PsychScience

    PsychScience right hand on green

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    The letter looks great :thumbup:

    A couple of thoughts:

    I also like the idea of the online petition... On a related note, I'm wondering if we might be able to supplement the online petition with encouraging some handwritten petitions? I have heard that studies show that handwritten messages are more effective than online petitions or email. If this letter can be abbreviated, but contain the same sentiment, it would be easier to write.

    In addition to sending this to APAGS, are there other organizations that this could be distributed to so that it can reach out to more students? I know at my school we have a CUDCP Liaison who recently sent out some letter related to the imbalance, although I don't recall what the letter said specifically, I know it mentioned that they were also thinking about this very issue.
  49. roubs

    roubs Ph.D. Student

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    I agree with the spirit and aims of the letter but I have a critique.

    "Further, we strongly suggest that APA remove accreditation from these programs,"

    Do you want students currently at these schools to help push for changes? If so I don't think advocating for yanking accreditation is going to bring them on board. Anecdotally I know many of these students are upset at the tactics their school uses and so I think we can get more traction with them than without them. I would agree that APA needs to somehow place limits on class size as a requirement of renewing accreditation and should probably place a moratorium on applications from new schools.

    Do of you all firmly believe revoking accreditation is the best way to get control of this problem? I don't see that idea getting anywhere.
  50. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Depends where they are in the process. But that's why I put in the qualifier of target date (meaning after the current crop graduate).

    Unfortunately, I don't think the answers are simple. I think the programs are bad for the field and the students. For that reason, I think they should be yanked. However, these arguments can and are spun in many different directions. I would like to see standards for cost/funding of students and controlled expansion/development of the field, meaning an economic analysis of job availability and incomes driving number of students, not profit/survival of a professional school driving number of students. The current status-quo answer from the unfunded schools seems to be that market forces will regulate their expansion. But, we are dealing with different supply and demand curves. And, to me, the way that these market forces would limit their expansion is by killing psychology. If it is clear that psychology is a dead end and can no longer command a living wage, students will probably stop attending professional schools. That's unacceptable.

    I feel that these schools are exploitative and a product of the student loan bubble. So, I think it is APA's ethical duty to not accredit these programs to protect students. And, further, as the imbalance worsens and training standards come into question, I think its APA's ethical duty to aggressively pursue preventing these programs from offering a licensable degree to protect patients. Moreover, with the flood of new psychologists every year, now >50% coming from programs of this nature, I think it is APA's ethical duty to stop them to protect the livelihood of current and future professionals.

    But, you may be right; this letter could be too aggressive to do much. I was just throwing a draft out there to spur discussion. If you feel there is a better way to phrase or communicate a point(s), please feel free to edit or write another version.

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